2001: a space odyssey

2001: a space odyssey

John Tavener - 1968 The Whale

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The Whale (1968) Apple's Avant Adventure Back in the day, some of us bought up practically anything that appeared on The Beatles' Apple Records. Much of it was forgettable, of course, but John Tavener's The Whale was not. The Whale is a challenging, two-part, half hour mix of esoteric, avant garde classical adventurism -- a kindred spirit of 2001: A Space Odyssey's "Lux Aeterna" (for 16 unaccompanied voices) and Frank Zappa's later, neo-operatic musings for 200 Motels. Unlike most Apple artists, Tavener went on to enjoy a successful career that would render The Whale a footnote. Worth a listen for those who thought "Revolution #9″ was a good start for Apple. The Whale, Part 1 (18:26) The Whale, Part 2 (13:15) The Whale has eight sections: I. Documentary, II. Melodrama and Pantomime, III. Invocation. IV. The Storm, V. The Swallowing, VI. The Prayer. VII. In the Belly, and VIII. The Vomiting. Sir John Kenneth Tavener (born 28 January 1944) is a British composer, best known for such religious, minimal works as "The Whale", and "Funeral Ikos". He began as a prodigy; in 1968, at the age of 24, he was described by the Guardian as "the musical discovery of the year", while The Times said he was "among the very best creative talents of his generation." During his career he has become one of the best known and regarded composers of his generation. Tavener was knighted in 2000 for his services to music and has won an Ivor Novello Award. The Whale is a "dramatic cantata" written by the English composer John Tavener in 1966. The work is loosely based on the biblical allegory of Jonah and the Whale, although Tavener admitted that "The 'fantasy' grew and perhaps at times nearly 'swallowed' the biblical text: so the swallowing of Jonah became almost 'literal' in the biblical sense." The libretto includes the words of an encyclopaedia entry describing certain facts about the whale, and this is contrasted with themes within the music which attempt to portray the reality of the whale itself, whose existence is greater than the sum of all the facts about it. It was premiered at a the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonietta under David Atherton at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 24 January 1968. It was heard again at a Proms concert on 1 August 1969, with the same orchestra and conductor, with soloists Anna Reynolds, Raimund Herincx, Alvar Lidell and the composer playing pipe and hammond organs. In July 1970, The Whale was recorded in Islington, London with the same musicians.